The majority of commercially sent emails are so-called transactional emails, such as order confirmations or password reset emails. But how can these also be used in marketing?
Whether order confirmations, shipping confirmations or password reset emails: transactional emails account for a significant share of commercially sent emails, especially (but not only) in e-commerce. They enjoy the highest level of attention among users, with open rates of over 80 percent in some cases. However, many companies still send out unimaginative system emails from their store backend, which are not customizable, without individualization, without marketing integration, and sometimes with faulty presentation. Yet transactional emails offer numerous opportunities to use them for marketing and service.
Tips for using transactional emails
Ugly text emails or confusing, inflexible transactional emails? Many marketers suffer from the standard templates of their backend that were implemented at some point.
Instead, it’s important to use flexible HTML templates that can be customized by the user. Transactional emails should be designed with the same high quality as marketing emails to give users a true service experience.
Especially in transactional emails, individualization is of utmost importance. All available data should be used for individualization, e.g.:
- CRM data: Content can be customized to, for example, place of residence, (job) position, marital status, customer status, and other available data.
- Context data: Is the user’s location known? The weather at the location? The terminal device used? The current media usage? Then this contextual data should be used in real time for individualization in order to increase the response.
- Recommendations: The user should be given further recommendations, e.g. based on his purchase history or in line with his current purchase. Caution: Observe permissibility for advertising communication. An opt-in is required for recommendations.
- Coupons: The user can be presented with coupons, individualized according to e.g. previous sales volume or loyalty status.
- Loyalty data: The current points balance should be integrated into the transaction emails, including information on how many points the user still lacks, e.g. to reach a higher status. They should be able to redeem their points directly via the transaction mail or obtain new points.
Cross- and Upselling
Transactional emails are the perfect occasion to offer users additional offers that match the transaction.
Cross-sells are offers that complement the purchased product, e.g. matching shoes to a dress, e-books to an e-book reader, or day trips to a trip.
Up-sells are higher-priced versions of the purchased product, such as a more comprehensive version of a software package, a better seat on an airplane, or a more powerful processor on a laptop.
Cross-sells and upsells should be integrated in order confirmations, shipping confirmations, but also in marketing e-mails as part of follow-up campaigns.
Attention: Observe admissibility for advertising communication!
Communication about a transaction does not have to end after an order confirmation, shipping confirmation, and possibly delivery confirmation. Instead, transactions should be used as triggers for automated follow-up campaigns. This is often the fastest way to turn simple transactions into advanced marketing automation, e.g.:
- Satisfaction surveys with a request for a recommendation or a review
- Repurchase reminders for consumer goods
- Coupons for subsequent purchases
- Birthday emails for long-lasting products
- Reactivation in case of inactivity
- Cross- and upsells
- Tutorial sections for products in need of explanation
- Service reminders
Gaining marketing opt-ins
Not all transactional email users have also subscribed to the newsletter. A newsletter or email marketing opt-in is the first step in developing users in a targeted manner. In e-commerce, for example, users with an e-mail marketing opt-in generally generate significantly more frequent and higher overall sales than users without an opt-in.
Therefore, transactional emails should be used as a touchpoint to acquire or supplement marketing opt-ins.
Author: Henning Jäger, Head Of Business Development, artegic AG